The history of whiteboard drawing videos and their origins is a vast subject; one that is far too vast for a simple blog post, to be honest.
Nonetheless, it’s fascinating to speculate about how whiteboard drawing video came to be, where it originated, and even where it might be headed in the future. Taking these suggestions into consideration can help you refine what your whiteboard drawing video is intended to accomplish and how we can best assist you.
Origins of Whiteboard Drawing Video
Knowing that whiteboard video is essentially storytelling, we should not be surprised to learn that storytelling is as old as the human race. Cave drawings were used to record hunting expeditions and tribe sizes in prehistoric times, and cave walls still bear the marks of these drawings today. Of course, the cave drawings did not move, but there is a clear parallel between them and modern-day whiteboard drawing videos, especially when the simplicity factor is taken into consideration. For all their primitiveness, cave drawings have the potential to serve as an effective mode of communication. On the other hand, good communication is all about keeping things as simple as possible. Ironically, the cavemen were completely correct all along!
As the human race progressed, so did our ability to create artistic works. We learned how to create a sense of depth, how to manage scale, and how to use colour effectively. The discovery of Persistence of Vision, an optical trick that allows a series of still images to be “stitched” together by the human mind to create the illusion of movement, is widely considered to be the most significant step forward in the evolution of what would eventually become whiteboard drawing video. While animation as a medium has been around since at least the early 1900s, animation itself has existed in a variety of different forms for much longer, including flip books, the thaumatrope, the zoetrope, and the magic lantern, among other things. In addition, each of these inventions is a fascinating subject matter that is well worth your time to learn about!
The computer is, of course, essential to the creation of whiteboard drawing videos in the manner that we know them today. However, while early pioneers such as John Whitney may have recognised the potential of computers in animation, it wasn’t until the 1960s, when computers became smaller and more powerful, that computers were able to establish a firm foothold in the field of animation. Early examples, such as the “wire-frame” animations of William Fetter, are very clearly in the same tradition as whiteboard drawing video, which dates back to the 1920s. However, the complexity of the animations would increase, but the fundamental principles would always remain the same.
However, there is another connection that does not necessarily have anything to do with computers or artistic styles. Whiteboard drawing videos take advantage of the unbridled pleasure that comes from simply watching someone do something. Anyone who has had the pleasure of witnessing a chalk artist create a piece of art on the street will be able to relate to what I’m talking about. Consider, as well, the example of Bob Ross, the host and artist of the television show The Joy of Painting. Bob’s paintings of tranquil landscapes and descriptions of “happy little trees” have captivated viewers for years. Even though the majority of those who watched were not artists, they seemed to enjoy the format. There are dozens of Bob Ross videos available on YouTube today. Take a look at one… However, pay close attention to the closeup shots where it’s just Bob’s hand and the canvas, which is initially empty but gradually fills with colour. Isn’t that suspiciously similar to a video created on a whiteboard?
And what about the foreseeable future? “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future,” as Yogi Berra famously observed. It’s difficult to imagine a more straightforward method of communication than a video of a whiteboard drawing, but perhaps the answer isn’t so much in the format as it is in the delivery. For example, whiteboard videos are currently created by animators for people to view on a screen, but in the not-too-distant future, it is possible, if not probable, that a method will be developed to beam those images directly into a person’s head instead of onto a screen. We’ll have to wait and see what happens!